Dark Hallucinations

Steel Prophet

Nuclear Blast Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's a funny thing, but everyone who listens to music as more than just background noise while stuck in traffic ends up thinking that some artist or group sounds like some other artist or group. If it's happened to you, then you know what I'm talking about. If it hasn't happened to you, don't worry... it'll catch up.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when I started listening to Steel Prophet's latest release Dark Hallucinations; halfway through I found myself asking, "Did I pop in a Queensryche CD by mistake?"


Of course, Steel Prophet is a progressive metal band who have their own unique sound and song structure... but damned if they don't sound like Queensryche from time to time. While there is some genuinely entertaining music on this album, there are other times where the energy lags a bit.

Led by vocalist Rick Mythiasin and guitarist/founding member Steve Kachinsky Blackmoor, Steel Prophet combines elements of metal, thrash and progressive rock into its sound. But if you read the song titles (at least on my advance copy), there seems to be a story line tying some of the album's nine tracks together. Fine and dandy - but the songs jump from chapter one to chapter five, then back to chapter two! The hell with trying to decipher any story line.

Musically, Steel Prophet do have many things going for them - namely, the element of surprise. You never can be sure when the band is going to jump from a progressive riff into a double-bass pumping speed metal section. Some might find this to be a tad annoying; I, however, found it interesting that they would shift musical gears like this.

Some of the tracks, like "New Life" and "We Are Not Alone," stand out as being some of the band's best work on Dark Hallucinations. But on other tracks, it's sometimes hard to keep one's head focused on the music. It's almost as if the music on tracks like "Strange Encounter" and "Betrayal" try to take you out of the game - and that, I don't think, was Steel Prophet's intention.

The only other thing I'd call Steel Prophet to task for is the abrupt ending to the album, on "Spectres". It's almost as if the song had more life left in it, but it comes to a screeching halt. Why not let the song end on its own terms?

Still, Dark Hallucinations is an album that should appeal to many fans of different genres of music. It is the kind of album that could get a hardcore headbanger interested in progressive rock, while it could open the eyes of other listeners to the world of metal. Just be ready to give this disk anywhere from two to four listens before you really start getting into it.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nuclear Blast Records, and is used for informational purposes only.